US Suspends Salaries of Somali Special Forces over Arrest of Military Commander

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The United States has suspended salaries of Somali special forces  after the federal government allegedly arrested senior US-trained military commander for political motives, a blow to the current administration as presidential election looms.

Sources within the army have told Somaliguardian that US officials insisted they would not pay Danab troops until breakthrough has been reached over the detention of special forces commander Ismael Abdimalik.

US officials voiced concerns that the commander was held unlawfully in a detention center at Somalia’s Ministry of Defense and urged his immediate release.

Somali officials ignored US calls for the release of the military commander who has been in custody for a month and the federal government has not yet specified the cause of his arrest.

Why was the commander arrested?

Mr Abdimalik was appointed as the commander of US-trained and equipped Somali special forces after his predecessor was fired over theft of weapons. He served in the ranks of still fragile Somali army for years and participated in allied forces’ war against Al-Shabaab Islamists.

Somali government officials had earlier told Somaliguardian that Mr Abdimalik was arrested for alleged ties to ousted Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and on the basis that the two men belong to the same clan.

The arrest of Danab commander is said to be part of president Farmajo’s purge to cleanse the army and other state institutions of officials tied to opposition politicians. Over the past few weeks, dozens of officials and employees were fired. Several senior military commanders were also dismissed in a move that the US and other donor nations deemed could give way for decline in military operations against Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliated group that controls large swathes of territory in south and central Somalia.

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